National Clean Out Your Medicine Cabinet Day! (April 21st)

04.21.23 02:00 PM Comment(s) By Lisa

Ok, we all have stuff in our medicine cabinets that need purging. Everything from expired antacids that have crusted up the edges of the screw cap to the antibiotic you only half completed 25 years ago when you got your wisdom teeth out. The time for spring cleaning has arrived and you guessed it: there is a National Day for cleaning out our medicine cabinets, and it's April 21st!

If you still have Mercurochrome (merbromin) in your cabinet, it's WAY past time for you to clean out that cabinet. If you are younger than 30, you probably have never even heard of this bright red tincture our moms would apply to a cut. It was the household antiseptic-of-choice in the 1960s, 70s, and 80s. In case you are wondering where it went, October 19, 1998, citing potential for mercury poisoning, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) reclassified merbromin from "generally recognized as safe" to "untested," effectively halting its distribution within the United States. 

While medications are not recyclable, responsible medication disposal is crucial for human and environmental health.

The easiest, and often safest, way to dispose of expired or unwanted mediation is through drug take-back or mail-back programs through pharmacies, government agencies and community groups, which will dispose of medications properly. Find a local take-back or mail-back program using a recycling locator.

If you do not have access to a take-back program, pour medication into a sealable plastic bag. If the medication is a solid (pill, liquid capsule, etc.), add water to dissolve it.

Add kitty litter, sawdust or coffee grounds (or any material that mixes with the medication and makes it less appealing for pets and children to eat) to the plastic bag.

Seal the plastic bag and put it in the trash.

Remove and destroy all identifying personal information on the prescription label from all medication containers before recycling them or throwing them away.

Responsible medication disposal has changed over the years, so it’s important to follow any disposal instructions on the medication package, which will have the most current recommendations. If there aren’t any, follow the advice above. 

Some pharmacies will accept expired prescriptions for disposal, while others provide mail-back envelopes to send your drugs to other companies that will dispose of them properly. Pharmaceutical manufactures will NOT accept returned medications.

Narcotic or controlled medications in the United States can be returned through a take-back program via mail or designated drop-off locations. This program is offered by the US Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA). Contact information is provided below.....

Drug Enforcement Administration

8701 Morrissette Drive

Springfield, VA 22152

Phone: 1- 800 - 882-9539

Web Address:

Hopefully this is a helpful way to encourage mindful disposal of potentially harmful substances.

Ciao for now!
-Xoxo, Lisa.


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